By Mark Heinz, public lands and wildlife reporter
Hunters – if you’re wondering when printed copies of the 2022 big game hunting regulations will start showing up at your favorite sporting goods stores – they won’t.
Global paper supply problems are probably to blame, Wyoming Game and Fish Department public information officer Sara DiRienzo said in an email Tuesday to Cowboy State Daily.
The company that Game and Fish contracted with for the printing, RR Donnelley, has cited supply problems as the reason for being unable to fulfill the contract this year, DiRienzo said. Printed small game and trapping regulations also won’t be available, except at regional Game and Fish offices.
The department’s 2022 fishing regulations were part a printing run in December of last year, before the supply problems started, and so they are widely available, DiRienzo said.
Swinging by the store in late summer to pick up a copy of “the regs” has over the years become a tradition for many hunters, along with other pre-season rituals such as re-calibrating the accuracy of rifles or archery tackle and checking to make sure packs, boots and clothing are in good repair.
The magazine-style booklets contain a wealth of pertinent information, such as season dates and which licenses may be used for which species in any of Wyoming’s numerous hunting areas for pronghorn, deer and elk.
But in an increasingly paperless world, this year’s change might become permanent.
Regarding whether big game regulations will be printed next year or anytime thereafter, DiRienzo said, “The department is still evaluating our options for coming years.”
Printed copies of the big game regulations are also typically mailed out with hunting tags that have been issued to those who were successful in drawings for limited quota hunt areas. That won’t happen this year, but there should be limited supplies of printed regulations available at Game and Fish offices throughout Wyoming, DiRienzo said.
“The contractor typically prints and mails about 40,000 copies of big game regulations to licensed hunters on behalf of the department,” DiRienzo stated. “Game and Fish has sourced printing – mostly through WY Brand Industries – for 10 percent of our typically run to make available in our regional offices.”
Hunters also have digital options – Game and fish has launched “an interactive, online version of our regulations that are mobile friendly and a webpage with easy-to-download versions for people to print at home”, DiRienzo said
She noted that Game and Fish has heard only “limited negate feedback” about the general availability of printed regulations.
There haven’t been any complaints at the Laramie Sportsman’s Warehouse outlet, said Nick Trampe, the store’s office manager.
“We’ve had a lot of people coming in and asking about them (the printed regulations), but not really anybody complaining,” he said.
Game and Fish has supplied stores with laminated printout sheets featuring a QR code that hunters can scan, and then download a full digital version of the regulations to their mobile devices, Trampe said. Those digital copies should open directly from mobile devices, even when hunters are in remote areas that are otherwise out of cellular or wireless connection range, he said.